Review: Darkness Awakened by Stephanie Rowe

darkness awakened 1Reviewed by Jen

Ancient warriors. A band of brothers. They must protect the earth from those of their kind who go rogue. Each has a soulmate to complete him to drive him stark raving mad. Wait. What? This series takes the standard idea of the genre –that a mate is something wonderful– and turns it completely on its ear. Here, a mate is something to be avoided at all costs. Because no mated couple has ever survived the curse of their kind.

Quinn is determined never to find his sheva, the other half of his soul.  His work for the Order of the Blade is too important. But fate has other plans for him.  Grace Matthews shows up on his doorstep, just as he is dealing with a major calamity. She is an Illusionist; she can craft illusions so real and horrifying, they can actually kill those around her. Her sister is missing and she knows the famed, powerful Quinn is the only one who can help find her.

Quinn is already on a hunt of his own, for his missing best friend Elijah. The other warrior has killed several young recruits. But it makes no sense. He knows Elijah is honorable. The search should be his only priority, but once he meets Grace, he can’t turn her away. He knows she is his sheva, but his logic can’t overrule his lust and emotions. The two end up pairing up to search for both missing parties and they quickly find their missions are one in the same.

I enjoyed the story. I like that Stephanie Rowe is doing something different with fated mates. The world-building is well done for the most part and easy to understand. (The only thing I wasn’t clear about was how much the human population knew about the supernatural.) Rowe does a good job establishing the members of the Order, giving them unique personalities and piquing my interest in getting to know them better.

The sexual tension is good between Quinn and Grace. These two are on fire for each other, but I like that it effects them equally and there is a balance of power between them in that sense. I like that Grace is just as strong and deadly as Quinn in her own way. And by the time these two developed their bond, I was rooting for them to beat their impossible odds.

The love does develop kind of fast, but I guess when you can see inside someone, it helps to get to know them better pretty quickly.  I thought that the HEA was a little convenient, considering these two did something no one in the race has done for hundreds of years, because … they really wanted to break the curse?  Because they were more determined than all the couples before them? Eh.  I also felt like the villain was kind of one dimensional. I get why he was doing the things he did, but it was pretty superficial.  I hope Rowe fleshes out the Big Bad arc a bit more in future books.

Overall, though, I liked it, especially for a first installment in a series. I am optimistic that as the series continues, some of my issues will be addressed. I’ll keep you posted.

Rating: B/B-

Free on: Amazon

Darkness Awakened
by Stephanie Rowe
Release Date: March 13, 2012


  1. oh wow…that is so different, I like the different take on mates. I definitely want to try this author out now. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

  2. This sounds interesting – have downloaded. Free AND a recommendation. Awesome.

  3. Jenna Jordan says:

    I for seriously LOVE LOVE LOVE this series. I’ve read all but the latest one..even the novellas. It’s super interesting the deeper you get into the world of the Order..and like all series..some books are better than others. Glad for once I could recommend something for you!!! xoxo

    • Jen at Red Hot Books says:

      I’ve read the first three and, of those, the second was my favorite. I’m taking a break and may come back to them in a bit. 🙂 Thanks for the rec, darlin’.

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